From Too Many Chefs -

March 18, 2005
Cheesy Vegetable Pasta Bake

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My wife is a runner, as is Paul from Locussolus and this site. They run about the same pace, and last night they ran together to help my wife get in shape for the upcoming Shamrock Shuffle.

I knew they'd want something carb-friendly when they returned so I put together a vegetable laden cheesy pasta bake that was light and delicious. I was certain I'd made way too much of the stuff, but between the three of us, 80% of the dish disappeared, leaving a lunch friendly 20% for leftovers.

The celery may seem skimpy for so much food, but it adds a nice subtle flavor to the dish. I recommend baking this in a shallow large lasagna pan for best results.

Cheesy Vegetable Pasta Bake

8 oz. penne pasta
handful of salt

2 stalks of broccoli, florets from both, long stem from one
1 yellow onion, diced
4 plum tomatoes
1 8 oz. package of button mushrooms
1 1/2 stalks celery

2 tablespoons oil
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablesppon marjoram

8 oz. mozarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese.

Cut up broccoli into 1" bite sized florets and thin 1/4" wide chunks of broccoli stem. Reserve the stem from the second stalk of broccoli for another use. It's important to get the stems thin so they cook in the same time as the florets.

Quarter the mushrooms and cut the tomatoes into 12 pieces by cutting them into quarters lengthwise then into thirds across.

Slice the celery VERY thinly. We want it to give up most of its moisture in the sautee and be more of a spice than a star ingredient.

Put on a big pot of water to boil. Toss in a small handful of salt so the water approaches the saltiness of the sea. Bring to a boil and put the penne in for 10-12 minutes until al dente. Drain pasta and set aside. Preheat the oven to 425 F.

Heat the oil in a big sautee pan on high heat. Add onions and let sweat for two minutes. Add the broccoli and celery and continue sauteeing for three more minutes.

Add mushrooms, marjoram, vinegar, and butter and stir together. The mushrooms will suck up most of the moisture. Sautee for 3 more minutes.

Add tomatoes, stir and sautee for about two minutes more. In a large bowl, mix the pasta and vegetables together. Salt and pepper to taste, though the pasta should add enough salt to the dish by itself.

Spoon the mix into the casserole/lasagna dish. Cover the top of the mix with mozarella, then sprinkle the parmesan over the top of that evenly.

Put the mix in the oven and bake for 17-20 minutes until the top is golden brown and a little crunchy.

Remove from the oven and let sit for a minute or two before serving. It will be hot inside so be careful and don't burn yourself.

Goes well with a simple salad and a Spanish red wine (well, that's how we ate it, anyway).

I'll be walking the 5K while Rebecca runs the 8K, so maybe we'll both need another helping of this dish come April 3rd.

Posted by Barrett in Maryland at March 18, 2005 7:20 AM | TrackBack

This was yummy, and I'll definitely be trying it at home.

Also, when Barrett says a handful, he literally means a handful! And Barrett has big hands.

Posted by paul on March 18, 2005 at 10:26 AM

this looks scrummy!!! mmmmmmmm

Posted by zoe and kim on November 21, 2005 at 5:41 AM

And you know what they say about a chef with big hands...big oven mitts.

Barrett, my wife asked if you made this up or stole it without giving credit where credit is due. I pass that query on to you.

Also, after I tasted it, I decided to add a little paprika and cayenne to my plate. Next time, I'll add them earlier in the process. Otherwise, good meal.

Posted by Justin on December 23, 2005 at 9:05 AM

Justin, I'm very careful about crediting people where credit is due. If you notice the most recent post on the cookies, I credit the cookbook where the recipe originated, and on the turtle cake recipe, I credit not only my mother-in-law, but the woman SHE got it from.

This was strictly an improvisational recipe based on what we had in the refrigerator.

That said, it's not exactly a rocket science recipe, so I'm sure there are plenty of similar ones out there.

Posted by barrett on December 23, 2005 at 9:37 AM

I like the way this recipe is written. The way that barrett includes details (i.e., saltiness of the sea) ; it puts me in a conversational mode, instead of being in the lectured-to mode. Thank you!

Posted by Mimi on May 4, 2008 at 9:24 AM